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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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icing is the sugar-rich coating used to embellish cakes, buns, and pastries. The fondness of the British for this substance is illustrated by the fact that confectioner’s sugar, a fine white powder, is known as icing sugar in Britain.

The simplest mixture for the purpose is a syrup or glaze of sugar and water, or sugar and milk, boiled and then brushed over the tops of yeast-raised goods whilst they are still warm. It dries to an attractive shine.

Simple water icing is a paste made from water and powdered sugar. It is mostly used for the plainer and more homely cakes such as victoria sandwich cakes. A more complicated variation is glacé icing, which requires the icing sugar to be added to a boiled sugar syrup and beaten. The result is very glossy. These types of icing are often coloured and flavoured with orange, lemon, coffee, or chocolate.